MV Kimbia back in operation

MV Kimbia
MV Kimbia

The Ministry of Public Works’ Transport & Harbours Department (T&HD) has annoucned that MV Kimbia is out of dry-dock as of Friday, January 29, 2021 and has successfully completed its test run.

In a statement on Friday evening, the Ministry said that the vessel will set sail for the Northwest on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 16:00h (4pm).

“Passengers are asked to take note of this departure and make all necessary arrangements for travel. The Ministry and T&HD thank the public, especially the affected passengers, for their understanding and patience during the time the vessel was undergoing repairs,” the missive detailed.

Despite its May 2019 recommissioning to the tune of $488 million, MV Kimbia was taken back in a dry dock for emergency repairs after suffering a hole in the bow.
The Ministry had said the vessel which services residents of the North West District (NWD)has developed a hole in its bow.

It was further disclosed that the MV Barima has suffered engine failure to its port engine.
In 2019, MV Kimbia was recommissioned by the APNU/AFC to the tune of $488 million. At the time, the then Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said the contractual works executed by Courtney Benn Construction were to upgrade the maritime sector and provide better services to residents of Regions One and Two.

Upon assuming office in August 2020, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill gave the assurance that the PPP/C Government was focused on delivering a new vessel to the North West District.

In a September, Minister Edghill said, “in the first 10 days of being in office, President Dr Irfaan Ali and Vice President Dr Jagdeo along with myself and our team engaged the Indian Government and we have been able to resolve [some pending] issues.”

Five months later, on January 13, the Administration made good on its pledge and signed a $2.6 billion contract with Garden Reach Shipbuilders Engineers Limited (GRSEL) to construct an ocean-going passenger and cargo vessel to ply the Georgetown to NWD route and replace the MV Kimbia.

The vessel is expected to be built and shipped to Guyana in 18 months. It is anticipated the ferry will make travel and business easier for Region One (Barima-Waini) residents as both goods and services will be delivered in a shorter time.

Minister Edghill has stated that the contract, which was financed through a US$8 million grant and US$10 million Line of Credit (LOC) from the Indian Government, will save Guyana some $588 million. The saved sum will target the construction of new stellings in Region One, namely at Morawhanna, Kumaka, and Port Kaituma.

Former PPP/C President, Donald Ramotar had secured the monies from the Government of India for the new ferry before leaving office in 2015. However, the project remained stalled over the last five years under the previous Administration.